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They're the long arm of the law in this school
Chocachatti Elementary's new Crime Stoppers can, and will, write tickets to student scofflaws.
By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE, Times Correspondent
Published October 18, 2007
[Paulette Lash Ritchie | Times]
Third-grader Melissa Busto, 8, looks up at retired New York homicide Detective Frank Tirado as she receives a pin designating her as a Chocachatti CrimeStopper this school year.
BROOKSVILLE - The Chocachatti CrimeStoppers stood in three neat rows, awaiting the beginning of their terms as law enforcers. They remained at attention while Sheriff Richard Nugent encouraged them and presented them with pins.
The children wore bright orange caps identifying them as CrimeStoppers. They wore orange belts. Their job is to maintain order at school, according to the laws laid down by the student legislature.
Students can receive tickets for not wearing identification, loitering, littering, trespassing, moving violations, inappropriate speech and talking back to an officer. More serious offenses include vandalism, battery, theft and evading an officer.
The third- to fifth-grade officers carry clip cases in which they keep their tickets. The tickets are professional looking and are three-layered. The white copy goes to court, the student keeps the yellow copy, and the CrimeStopper keeps the pink copy.
Chocachatti is full of microsocieties, including a court, bank, store and newspaper. Each student has a job that he works two afternoons a week. Older students (grades 3 to 5) do two jobs.
"The children choose their jobs," said microsociety coordinator Kathryn Burrell. "They do have to go through the whole process of interviewing, and many, many kids want to be CrimeStoppers."
The CrimeStoppers are ranked. There are two sessions, and each has one sheriff, one deputy sheriff, three squad sergeants and two administrative sergeants. The rest are troopers.
Fourth-grader Christopher Loreto, 10, is a newly pinned first-session deputy sheriff. His interest in law enforcement is in his blood.
"My dad's a police officer, and me and my brother did it last year, and I just thought since my brother's doing it I should try out," he said. Christopher's brother, Frank, is in middle school now.
Jordan Bice, 9, is a fellow fourth-grader and a first-time trooper. He said he decided to try out "because it looked like an interesting job, and I enjoy stuff like this."
Jordan had been a trooper for less than an hour before writing his first ticket. It was a moving violation. Someone was running in school.
Fourth-grader Katie Kraft, 10, also wrote a quick ticket, another for running. She's not really sure why she applied for the job. But it may have had something to do with her father, sheriff's Detective Jeff Kraft.
Kraft volunteers at Chocachatti and helps with the CrimeStoppers program. "Last year we did a vehicle burglary investigation," he said. This year he hopes to focus on some mock minicrimes and teach the students some radio codes.
Who they are
The Crime Stoppers
First session: Sheriff Nick O'Connor; Deputy Sheriff Christopher Loreto; Squad A Sgt. Weston Reynolds; Squad A troopers Miranda Jones, Tyler Pitcher, Richard Russell, Emily Carr and Melissa Busto. Squad B Sgt. Michael Rampino; Squad B troopers Katie Kraft, Kyle Churches, Gerald Hatfield, Michael Sagliocca, Carmella Popoca and Ashley Tirado. Squad C Sgt. Trevor Laviano; Squad C troopers Jordan Bice, Christopher Windeler, Michael Makar, Alyssa Uchytil and Dawson Burger. Administration sergeants Taylor Zack and Kourtney Penny.
Second session: Sheriff Michael Ivers; Deputy Sheriff Ryan Busto; Squad A Sgt. Brooklyn Lawver; Squad A troopers William Waldron, Austin Boroff, Racquail Mobley, Aiden Fogarty and Scott Bierwiler. Squad B Sgt. Jose Irizarry; Squad B troopers Tyler Yungmann, Anthony Feda, Kelly Small, Frank Ritchie and Mikayla Rogers. Squad C Sgt. Omar Hafez; Squad C troopers Tyler Quigley, Kalee Flaherty, Kaitlyn Breton, Nicole Adelman and Shelby Redman. Administrative sergeants Tyler Eaton and Jakob Shad.